Working as a plumber, there are many varied roles and responsibilities that accompany this career. To begin, a licensed plumbing contractor must hire a pre-apprentice before starting a plumbing apprenticeship. Much like other regulated apprenticeships, for this Ontario apprenticeship, the process will take 4-5 years to complete as all plumbing apprentices are required to accumulate 9,000 working hours on the job site and another 36 weeks of additional apprenticeship training. Once this is completed to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and University’s standard, plumbing apprentices’ are now able to write their journeyman licensing exam.
As your progress your way through the plumbing apprenticeship and while working as a licensed plumber, you will perform a number of tasks:
- Assemble piping sections using tubing and fitting, using couplings, clamps, cement, plastic solvents or soldering, brazing and welding equipment
- Fill pipes or plumbing fixtures with water or air and observe pressure gauges to detect and locate leaks
- Review blueprints and building codes and specifications to determine work details and procedures
- Study building plans and inspect structures to asses materials and equipment needed to establish the sequences of pipe installations and plan installations around obstructions such as electrical wiring
- Measure, cut, thread and bend pipe assemblies, fittings, valves, appliances such as water heaters and fixtures like sinks and toilets
- Use specialized techniques, equipment and material to perform tasks such as computer assisted welding of small pipes or working with special piping used in microchip fabrication
Working as a plumber also involves a great amount of physical activities such as climbing, lifting, balancing and the handling of heavy materials so it is important to be physically fit and capable. Strength is another physical attribute as the ability to exert maximum muscle force to push, pull and carry objects and building materials is necessary. As a plumber, it is also important to have good inductive and deductive reasoning capabilities: the ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions, and the ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Plumbing journeymen can also earn a Red Seal endorsement after obtaining their Certificates of Qualification (CoQ). By passing the Interprovincial Examination and earning the Red Seal, this gives these trade professionals the qualifications necessary to work in all provinces and territories without further examination. Currently, there are 52 trades currently recognized under the Red Seal program in Canada. Much like electrical trades professionals, an Interprovincial Standards Red Seal for plumbing can be obtained in the trades designated as Red Seal by:
- Graduating from a recognized provincial or territorial apprenticeship training program; or
- Meeting requirements established by the provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority; or
- Having the time and experience working in a Red Seal trade assessed to qualify to write the Red Seal examination.
- Passing the interprovincial standards Red Seal examination for that trade.